Part 3 out of 7
doubled it and gave him a shilling. Mrs. Fuller brought in an itemised
bill for a crate of broken bones mended in two hundred and thirty-four
places--one dollar per fracture.
'Nothing exists but Mind?'
'Nothing,' she answered. 'All else is substanceless, all else is
I gave her an imaginary cheque, and now she is suing me for substantial
dollars. It looks inconsistent.
Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to
each other, it will unriddle many riddles, it will make clear and simple
many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and
Those of us who are not in the asylum, and not demonstrably due there,
are nevertheless no doubt insane in one or two particulars--I think we
must admit this; but I think that we are otherwise healthy-minded. I
think that when we all see one thing alike, it is evidence that as
regards that one thing, our minds are perfectly sound. Now there are
really several things which we do all see alike; things which we all
accept, and about which we do not dispute. For instance, we who are
outside of the asylum all agree that water seeks its level; that the sun
gives light and heat; that fire consumes; that fog is damp; that 6 times
6 are thirty-six; that 2 from 10 leave eight; that 8 and 7 are fifteen.
These are perhaps the only things we are agreed about; but although they
are so few, they are of inestimable value, because they make an
infallible standard of sanity. Whosoever accepts them we know to be
substantially sane; sufficiently sane; in the working essentials, sane.
Whoever disputes a single one of them we know to be wholly insane, and
qualified for the asylum.
Very well, the man who disputes none of them we concede to be entitled to
go at large--but that is concession enough; we cannot go any further than
that; for we know that in all matters of mere opinion that same man is
insane--just as insane as we are; just as insane as Shakespeare was, just
as insane as the Pope is. We know exactly where to put our finger upon
his insanity; it is where his opinion differs from ours.
That is a simple rule, and easy to remember. When I, a thoughtful and
unbiased Presbyterian, examine the Koran, I know that beyond any question
every Mohammedan is insane; not in all things, but in religious matters.
When a thoughtful and unbiased Mohammedan examines the Westminster
Catechism, he knows that beyond any question I am spiritually insane. I
cannot prove to him that he is insane, because you never can prove
anything to a lunatic--for that is a part of his insanity and the
evidence of it. He cannot prove to me that I am insane, for my mind has
the same defect that afflicts his. All democrats are insane, but not one
of them knows it; none but the republicans and mugwumps know it. All the
republicans are insane, but only the democrats and mugwumps can perceive
it. The rule is perfect; in all matters of opinion our adversaries are
insane. When I look around me I am often troubled to see how many people
are mad. To mention only a few:
The Atheist, The Shakers,
The Infidel, The Millerites,
The Agnostic, The Mormons,
The Baptist, The Laurence Oliphant
The Methodist, Harrisites,
The Catholic, and the other The Grand Lama's people,
115 Christian sects, the The Monarchists,
Presbyterian excepted, The Imperialists,
The 72 Mohammedan sects, The Democrats,
The Buddhist, The Republicans (but not
The Blavatsky-Buddhist, the Mugwumps),
The Nationalist, The Mind-Curists,
The Confucian, The Faith-Curists,
The Spiritualist, The Mental Scientists,
The 2,000 East Indian The Allopaths,
sects, The Homeopaths,
The Peculiar People, The Electropaths,
The--but there's no end to the list; there are millions of them! And all
insane; each in his own way; insane as to his pet fad or opinion, but
otherwise sane and rational.
This should move us to be charitable toward one another's lunacies. I
recognise that in his special belief the Christian Scientist is insane,
because he does not believe as I do; but I hail him as my mate and fellow
because I am as insane as he--insane from his point of view, and his
point of view is as authoritative as mine and worth as much. That is to
say, worth a brass farthing. Upon a great religious or political
question the opinion of the dullest head in the world is worth the same
as the opinion of the brightest head in the world--a brass farthing. How
do we arrive at this? It is simple: The affirmative opinion of a stupid
man is neutralised by the negative opinion of his stupid neighbour--no
decision is reached; the affirmative opinion of the intellectual giant
Gladstone is neutralised by the negative opinion of the intellectual
giant Cardinal Newman--no decision is reached. Opinions that prove
nothing are, of course, without value--any but a dead person knows that
much. This obliges us to admit the truth of the unpalatable proposition
just mentioned above--that in disputed matters political and religious
one man's opinion is worth no more than his peer's, and hence it follows
that no man's opinion possesses any real value. It is a humbling
thought, but there is no way to get around it: all opinions upon these
great subjects are brass-farthing opinions.
It is a mere plain simple fact--as clear and as certain as that 8 and 7
make fifteen. And by it we recognise that we are all insane, as concerns
those matters. If we were sane we should all see a political or
religious doctrine alike, there would be no dispute: it would be a case
of 8 and 7--just as it is in heaven, where all are sane and none insane.
There there is but one religion, one belief, the harmony is perfect,
there is never a discordant note.
Under protection of these preliminaries I suppose I may now repeat
without offence that the Christian Scientist is insane. I mean him no
discourtesy, and I am not charging--nor even imagining--that he is
insaner than the rest of the human race. I think he is more
picturesquely insane that some of us. At the same time, I am quite sure
that in one important and splendid particular he is saner than is the
vast bulk of the race.
Why is he insane? I told you before: it is because his opinions are not
ours. I know of no other reason, and I do not need any other; it is the
only way we have of discovering insanity when it is not violent. It is
merely the picturesqueness of his insanity that makes it more interesting
than my kind or yours. For instance, consider his 'little book'--the one
described in the previous article; the 'little book' exposed in the sky
eighteen centuries ago by the flaming angel of the Apocalypse and handed
down in our day to Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy of New Hampshire and
translated by her, word for word, into English (with help of a polisher),
and now published and distributed in hundreds of editions by her at a
clear profit per volume, above cost, of 700 per cent.!--a profit which
distinctly belongs to the angel of the Apocalypse, and let him collect it
if he can; a 'little book' which the C.S. very frequently calls by just
that name, and always inclosed in quotation-marks to keep its high origin
exultantly in mind; a 'little book' which 'explains' and reconstructs and
new-paints and decorates the Bible and puts a mansard roof on it and a
lightning-rod and all the other modern improvements; a little book which
for the present affects to travel in yoke with the Bible and be friendly
to it, and within half a century will hitch it in the rear, and
thenceforth travel tandem, itself in the lead, in the coming great march
of Christian Scientism through the Protestant dominions of the planet.
Perhaps I am putting the tandem arrangement too far away; perhaps five
years might be nearer the mark than fifty; for a Viennese lady told me
last night that in the Christian Science Mosque in Boston she noticed
some things which seem to me to promise a shortening of the interval; on
one side there was a display of texts from the New Testament, signed with
the Saviour's initials, 'J.C.;' and on the opposite side a display of
texts from the 'little book' signed--with the author's mere initials?
No--signed with Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy's name in full. Perhaps the
Angel of the Apocalypse likes this kind of piracy. I made this remark
lightly to a Christian Scientist this morning, but he did not receive it
lightly, but said it was jesting upon holy things; he said there was no
piracy, for the angel did not compose the book, he only brought it--'God
composed it.' I could have retorted that it was a case of piracy just
the same; that the displayed texts should be signed with the Author's
initials, and that to sign them with the translator's train of names was
another case of 'jesting upon holy things.' However, I did not say these
things, for this Scientist was a large person, and although by his own
doctrine we have no substance, but are fictions and unrealities, I knew
he could hit me an imaginary blow which would furnish me an imaginary
pain which could last me a week. The lady said that in that Mosque there
were two pulpits; in one of them was a man with the Former Bible, in the
other a woman with Mrs. Eddy's apocalyptic Annex; and from these books
the man and the woman were reading verse and verse about:
'Hungry ones throng to hear the Bible read in connection with the
text-book of Christian Science, "Science and Health, with Key to the
Scriptures," by Mary Baker G. Eddy. These are our only preachers.
They are the word of God.'--Christian Science Journal, October
Are these things picturesque? The Viennese lady told me that in a chapel
of the Mosque there was a picture or image of Mrs. Eddy, and that before
it burns a never-extinguished light. Is that picturesque? How long do
you think it will be before the Christian Scientist will be worshipping
that image and praying to it? How long do you think it will be before it
is claimed that Mrs. Eddy is a Redeemer, a Christ, or Christ's equal?
Already her army of disciples speak of her reverently as 'Our Mother.'
How long will it be before they place her on the steps of the Throne
beside the Virgin--and later a step higher? First, Mary the Virgin and
Mary the Matron; later, with a change of Precedence, Mary the Matron and
Mary the Virgin. Let the artist get ready with his canvas and his
brushes; the new Renaissance is on its way, and there will be money in
altar-canvases--a thousand times as much as the Popes and their Church
ever spent on the Old Masters; for their riches were as poverty as
compared with what is going to pour into the treasure-chest of the
Christian-Scientist Papacy by-and-by, let us not doubt it. We will
examine the financial outlook presently and see what it promises. A
favourite subject of the new Old Master will be the first verse of the
twelfth chapter of Revelation--a verse which Mrs. Eddy says (in her Annex
to the Scriptures) has 'one distinctive feature which has special
reference to the present age'--and to her, as is rather pointedly
'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven--a woman clothed with
the sun and the moon under her feet,' etc.
The woman clothed with the sun will be a portrait of Mrs. Eddy.
Is it insanity to believe that Christian Scientism is destined to make
the most formidable show that any new religion has made in the world
since the birth and spread of Mohammedanism, and that within a century
from now it may stand second to Rome only, in numbers and power in
If this is a wild dream it will not be easy to prove it is so just yet, I
think. There seems argument that it may come true. The
Christian-Science 'boom' is not yet five years old; yet already it has
500 churches and 1,000,000 members in America.
It has its start, you see, and it is a phenomenally good one. Moreover,
it is latterly spreading with a constantly accelerating swiftness. It
has a better chance to grow and prosper and achieve permanency than any
other existing 'ism;' for it has more to offer than any other. The past
teaches us that, in order to succeed, a movement like this must not be a
mere philosophy, it must be a religion; also, that it must not claim
entire originality, but content itself with passing for an improvement on
an existing religion, and show its hand later, when strong and
Next, there must be money--and plenty of it.
Next, the power and authority and capital must be concentrated in the
grip of a small and irresponsible clique, with nobody outside privileged
to ask questions or find fault.
Next, as before remarked, it must bait its hook with some new and
attractive advantages over the baits offered by the other religions.
A new movement equipped with some of these endowments--like spiritualism,
for instance--may count upon a considerable success; a new movement
equipped with the bulk of them--like Mohammedanism, for instance--may
count upon a widely extended conquest. Mormonism had all the requisites
but one--it had nothing new and nothing valuable to bait with; and,
besides, it appealed to the stupid and the ignorant only. Spiritualism
lacked the important detail of concentration of money and authority in
the hands of an irresponsible clique.
The above equipment is excellent, admirable, powerful, but not perfect.
There is yet another detail which is worth the whole of it put together--
and more; a detail which has never been joined (in the beginning of a
religious movement) to a supremely good working equipment since the world
began, until now: a new personage to worship. Christianity had the
Saviour, but at first and for generations it lacked money and
concentrated power. In Mrs. Eddy, Christian Science possesses the new
personage for worship, and in addition--here in the very beginning--a
working equipment that has not a flaw in it. In the beginning,
Mohammedanism had no money; and it has never had anything to offer its
client but heaven--nothing here below that was valuable. In addition to
heaven hereafter, Christian Science has present health and a cheerful
spirit to offer--for cash--and in comparison with this bribe all other
this-world bribes are poor and cheap. You recognise that this estimate
is admissible, do you not?
To whom does Bellamy's 'Nationalism' appeal? Necessarily to the few:
people who read and dream, and are compassionate, and troubled for the
poor and the hard-driven. To whom does Spiritualism appeal? Necessarily
to the few; its 'boom' has lasted for half a century and I believe it
claims short of four millions of adherents in America. Who are attracted
by Swedenborgianism and some of the other fine and delicate 'isms?' The
few again: Educated people, sensitively organised, with superior mental
endowments, who seek lofty planes of thought and find their contentment
there. And who are attracted by Christian Science? There is no limit;
its field is horizonless; its appeal is as universal as is the appeal of
Christianity itself. It appeals to the rich, the poor, the high, the
low, the cultured, the ignorant, the gifted, the stupid, the modest, the
vain, the wise, the silly, the soldier, the civilian, the hero, the
coward, the idler, the worker, the godly, the godless, the freeman, the
slave, the adult, the child; they who are ailing, they who have friends
that are ailing. To mass it in a phrase, its clientele is the Human
Race? Will it march? I think so.
Remember its principal great offer: to rid the Race of pain and disease.
Can it do it? In large measure, yes. How much of the pain and disease
in the world is created by the imaginations of the sufferers, and then
kept alive by those same imaginations? Four-fifths? Not anything short
of that I should think. Can Christian Science banish that four-fifths?
I think so. Can any other (organised) force do it? None that I know of.
Would this be a new world when that was accomplished? And a pleasanter
one--for us well people, as well as for those fussy and fretting sick
ones? Would it seem as if there was not as much gloomy weather as there
used to be? I think so.
In the meantime would the Scientist kill off a good many patients? I
think so. More than get killed off now by the legalised methods? I will
take up that question presently.
At present I wish to ask you to examine some of the Scientist's
performances, as registered in his magazine, 'The Christian Science
Journal'--October number, 1898. First, a Baptist clergyman gives us this
true picture of 'the average orthodox Christian'--and he could have added
that it is a true picture of the average (civilised) human being:
'He is a worried and fretted and fearful man; afraid of himself and his
propensities, afraid of colds and fevers, afraid of treading on serpents
or drinking deadly things.'
Then he gives us this contrast:
'The average Christian Scientist has put all anxiety and fretting under
his feet. He does have a victory over fear and care that is not achieved
by the average orthodox Christian.'
He has put all anxiety and fretting under his feet. What proportion of
your earnings or income would you be willing to pay for that frame of
mind, year in year out? It really outvalues any price that can be put
upon it. Where can you purchase it, at any outlay of any sort, in any
Church or out of it, except the Scientist's?
Well, it is the anxiety and fretting about colds, and fevers, and
draughts, and getting our feet wet, and about forbidden food eaten in
terror of indigestion, that brings on the cold and the fever and the
indigestion and the most of our other ailments; and so, if the Science
can banish that anxiety from the world I think it can reduce the world's
disease and pain about four-fifths.
In this October number many of the redeemed testify and give thanks; and
not coldly but with passionate gratitude. As a rule they seem drunk with
health, and with the surprise of it, the wonder of it, the unspeakable
glory and splendour of it, after a long sober spell spent in inventing
imaginary diseases and concreting them with doctor-stuff. The first
witness testifies that when 'this most beautiful Truth first dawned on
him' he had 'nearly all the ills that flesh is heir to;' that those he
did not have he thought he had--and thus made the tale about complete.
What was the natural result? Why, he was a dump-pit 'for all the
doctors, druggists, and patent medicines of the country.' Christian
Science came to his help, and 'the old sick conditions passed away,' and
along with them the 'dismal forebodings' which he had been accustomed to
employ in conjuring up ailments. And so he was a healthy and cheerful
man, now, and astonished.
But I am not astonished, for from other sources I know what must have
been his method of applying Christian Science. If I am in the right, he
watchfully and diligently diverted his mind from unhealthy channels and
compelled it to travel in healthy ones. Nothing contrivable by human
invention could be more formidably effective than that, in banishing
imaginary ailments and in closing the entrances against subsequent
applicants of their breed. I think his method was to keep saying, 'I am
well! I am sound!--sound and well! well and sound! Perfectly sound,
perfectly well! I have no pain; there's no such thing as pain! I have no
disease; there's no such thing as disease! Nothing is real but Mind; all
is Mind, All-Good, Good-Good, Life, Soul, Liver, Bones, one of a series,
ante and pass the buck!'
I do not mean that that was exactly the formula used, but that it
doubtless contains the spirit of it. The Scientist would attach value to
the exact formula, no doubt, and to the religious spirit in which it was
used. I should think that any formula that would divert the mind from
unwholesome channels and force it into healthy ones would answer every
purpose with some people, though not with all. I think it most likely
that a very religious man would find the addition of the religious spirit
a powerful reinforcement in his case.
The second witness testifies that the Science banished 'an old organic
trouble' which the doctor and the surgeon had been nursing with drugs and
the knife for seven years.
He calls it his 'claim.' A surface-miner would think it was not his
claim at all, but the property of the doctor and his pal the surgeon--for
he would be misled by that word, which is Christian-Science slang for
'ailment.' The Christian Scientist has no ailment; to him there is no
such thing, and he will not use the lying word. All that happens to him
is, that upon his attention an imaginary disturbance sometimes obtrudes
itself which claims to be an ailment, but isn't.
This witness offers testimony for a clergyman seventy years old who had
preached forty years in a Christian church, and has not gone over to the
new sect. He was 'almost blind and deaf.' He was treated by the C.S.
method, and 'when he heard the voice of Truth he saw spiritually.' Saw
spiritually. It is a little indefinite; they had better treat him again.
Indefinite testimonies might properly be waste-basketed, since there is
evidently no lack of definite ones procurable, but this C.S. magazine is
poorly edited, and so mistakes of this kind must be expected.
The next witness is a soldier of the Civil War. When Christian Science
found him, he had in stock the following claims:
Chalky deposits in
Atrophy of the muscles of
Stiffness of all those joints,
Excruciating pains most of the time.
These claims have a very substantial sound. They came of exposure in the
campaigns. The doctors did all they could, but it was little. Prayers
were tried, but 'I never realised any physical relief from that source.'
After thirty years of torture he went to a Christian Scientist and took
an hour's treatment and went home painless. Two days later he 'began to
eat like a well man.' Then 'the claims vanished--some at once, others
more gradually;' finally, 'they have almost entirely disappeared.' And--
a thing which is of still greater value--he is now 'contented and happy.'
That is a detail which, as earlier remarked, is a Scientist-Church
specialty. With thirty-one years' effort the Methodist Church had not
succeeded in furnishing it to this harassed soldier.
And so the tale goes on. Witness after witness bulletins his claims,
declares their prompt abolishment, and gives Mrs. Eddy's Discovery the
praise. Milk-leg is cured; nervous prostration is cured; consumption is
cured; and St. Vitus's dance made a pastime. And now and then an
interesting new addition to the Science slang appears on the page. We
have 'demonstrations over' chilblains and such things. It seems to be a
curtailed way of saying 'demonstrations of the power of Christian-Science
Truth over the fiction which masquerades under the name of Chilblains.'
The children as well as the adults, share in the blessings of the
Science. 'Through the study of the "little book" they are learning how
to be healthful, peaceful, and wise.' Sometimes they are cured of their
little claims by the professional healer, and sometimes more advanced
children say over the formula and cure themselves.
A little Far-Western girl of nine, equipped with an adult vocabulary,
states her age and says, 'I thought I would write a demonstration to
you.' She had a claim derived from getting flung over a pony's head and
landed on a rock-pile. She saved herself from disaster by remember to
say 'God is All' while she was in the air. I couldn't have done it. I
shouldn't have even thought of it. I should have been too excited.
Nothing but Christian Science could have enabled that child to do that
calm and thoughtful and judicious thing in those circumstances. She came
down on her head, and by all the rules she should have broken it; but the
intervention of the formula prevented that, so the only claim resulting
was a blackened eye. Monday morning it was still swollen and shut. At
school 'it hurt pretty bad--that is, it seemed to.' So 'I was excused,
and went down in the basement and said, "Now I am depending on mamma
instead of God, and I will depend on God instead of mamma."' No doubt
this would have answered; but, to make sure, she added Mrs. Eddy to the
team and recited 'the Scientific Statement of Being,' which is one of the
principal incantations, I judge. Then 'I felt my eye opening.' Why, it
would have opened an oyster. I think it is one of the touchingest things
in child-history, that pious little rat down cellar pumping away at the
Scientific Statement of Being.
There is a page about another good child--little Gordon. Little Gordon
'came into the world without the assistance of surgery or anaesthetics.'
He was a 'demonstration.' A painless one; therefore his coming evoked
'joy and thankfulness to God and the Discoverer of Christian Science.'
It is a noticeable feature of this literature--the so frequent linking
together of the Two Beings in an equal bond; also of Their Two Bibles.
When little Gordon was two years old, 'he was playing horse on the bed,
where I had left my "little book." I noticed him stop in his play, take
the book carefully in his little hands, kiss it softly, then look about
for the highest place of safety his arms could reach, and put it there.'
This pious act filled the mother 'with such a train of thought as I had
never experienced before. I thought of the sweet mother of long ago who
kept things in her heart,' etc. It is a bold comparison; however,
unconscious profanations are about as common in the mouths of the lay
membership of the new Church as are frank and open ones in the mouths of
its consecrated chiefs.
Some days later, the family library--Christian Science books--was lying
in a deep-seated window. It was another chance for the holy child to
show off. He left his play and went there and pushed all the books to
one side except the Annex. 'It he took in both hands, slowly raised it
to his lips, then removed it carefully, and seated himself in the
window.' It had seemed to the mother too wonderful to be true, that
first time; but now she was convinced that 'neither imagination nor
accident had anything to do with it.' Later, little Gordon let the
author of his being see him do it. After that he did it frequently;
probably every time anybody was looking. I would rather have that child
than a chromo. If this tale has any object, it is to intimate that the
inspired book was supernaturally able to convey a sense of its sacred and
awful character to this innocent little creature without the intervention
of outside aids. The magazine is not edited with high-priced discretion.
The editor has a claim, and he ought to get it treated.
Among other witnesses, there is one who had a 'jumping toothache,' which
several times tempted her to 'believe that there was sensation in matter,
but each time it was overcome by the power of Truth.' She would not
allow the dentist to use cocaine, but sat there and let him punch and
drill and split and crush the tool, and tear and slash its ulcerations,
and pull out the nerve, and dig out fragments of bone; and she wouldn't
once confess that it hurt. And to this day she thinks it didn't, and I
have not a doubt that she is nine-tenths right, and that her Christian
Science faith did her better service than she could have gotten out of
There is an account of a boy who got broken all up into small bits by an
accident, but said over the Scientific Statement of Being, or some of the
other incantations, and got well and sound without having suffered any
real pain and without the intrusion of a surgeon. I can believe this,
because my own case was somewhat similar, as per my former article.
Also there is an account of the restoration to perfect health, in a
single night, of a fatally injured horse, by the application of Christian
Science. I can stand a good deal, but I recognise that the ice is
getting thin here. That horse had as many as fifty claims: how could he
demonstrate over them? Could he do the All-Good, Good-Good,
Good-Gracious, Liver, Bones, Truth, All down but Nine, Set them up on the
Other Alley? Could he intone the Scientific Statement of Being? Now,
could he? Wouldn't it give him a relapse? Let us draw the line at
horses. Horses and furniture.
There is a plenty of other testimonies in the magazine, but these quoted
samples will answer. They show the kind of trade the Science is driving.
Now we come back to the question; Does it kill a patient here and there
and now and then? We must concede it. Does it compensate for this? I
am persuaded that it can make a plausible showing in that direction. For
instance: when it lays its hands upon a soldier who has suffered thirty
years of helpless torture and makes him whole in body and mind, what is
the actual sum of that achievement? This, I think: that it has restored
to life a subject who had essentially died ten deaths a year for thirty
years, and each of them a long and painful one. But for its interference
that man would have essentially died thirty times more, in the three
years which have since elapsed. There are thousand of young people in
the land who are now ready to enter upon a life-long death similar to
that man's. Every time the Science captures one of these and secures to
him life-long immunity from imagination-manufactured disease, it may
plausibly claim that in his person it has saved 300 lives. Meantime it
will kill a man every now and then; but no matter, it will still be ahead
on the credit side.
'We consciously declare that "Science and Health with Key to the
Scriptures," was foretold as well as its author, Mary Baker Eddy, in
Revelation x. She is the "mighty angel," or God's highest thought
to this age (verse 1), giving us the spiritual interpretation of the
Bible in the "little book open" (verse 2). Thus we prove that
Christian Science is the second coming of Christ--Truth--Spirit.'--
Lecture by Dr. George Tomkins, D.D., C.S.
There you have it in plain speech. She is the mighty angel; she is the
divinely and officially sent bearer of God's highest thought. For the
present, she brings the Second Advent. We must expect that before she
has been in her grave fifty years she will be regarded by her following
as having been herself the Second Advent. She is already worshipped, and
we must expect this feeling to spread territorially, and also to deepen
in intensity .
Particularly after her death; for then, as anyone can foresee,
Eddy-worship will be taught in the Sunday-schools and pulpits of the
cult. Already whatever she puts her trade-mark on, thought it be only a
memorial spoon, is holy and is eagerly and passionately and gratefully
bought by the disciple, and becomes a fetish in his house. I say bought,
for the Boston Christian-Science Trust gives nothing away; everything it
has for sale. And the terms are cash; and not cash only but cash in
advance. Its god is Mrs. Eddy first, then the Dollar. Not a spiritual
Dollar, but a real one. From end to end of the Christian-Science
literature not a single (material) thing in the world is conceded to be
real, except the Dollar. But all through and through its advertisements
that reality is eagerly and persistently recognised. The hunger of the
Trust for the Dollar, its adoration of the Dollar, its lust after the
Dollar, its ecstasy in the mere thought of the Dollar--there has been
nothing like it in the world in any age or country, nothing so coarse,
nothing so lubricous, nothing so bestial, except a French novel's
attitude towards adultery.
The Dollar is hunted down in all sorts of ways; the Christian-Science
Mother-Church and Bargain-Counter in Boston peddles all kinds of
spiritual wares to the faithful, always at extravagant prices, and always
on the one condition--cash, cash in advance. The Angel of the Apocalypse
could not go there and get a copy of his own pirated book on credit.
Many, many precious Christian-Science things are to be had there--for
cash: Bible Lessons; Church Manual; C.S. Hymnal; History of the building
of the Mother-Church; lot of Sermons; Communion Hymn, 'Saw Ye My
Saviour,' by Mrs. Eddy, half a dollar a copy, 'words used by special
permission of Mrs. Eddy.' Also we have Mrs. Eddy's and the Angel's
little Bible-Annex in eight styles of binding at eight kinds of war-
prices: among these a sweet thing in 'levant, divinity circuit, leather
lined to edge, round corners, gold edge, silk sewed, each, prepaid, $6,'
and if you take a million you get them a shilling cheaper--that is to
say, 'prepaid, $5.75.' Also we have Mrs. Eddy's 'Miscellaneous
Writings,' at noble big prices, the divinity-circuit style heading the
extortions, shilling discount where you take an edition. Next comes
'Christ and Christmas,' by the fertile Mrs. eddy--a poem--I would God I
could see it--price $3, cash in advance. Then follow five more books by
Mrs. Eddy at highwaymen's rates, as usual, some of them in 'leatherette
covers,' some of them in 'pebbled cloth,' with divinity circuit,
compensation balance, twin screw, and the other modern improvements: and
at the same bargain counter can be had the 'Christian Science Journal.'
I wish it were in refined taste to apply a rudely and ruggedly
descriptive epithet to that literary slush-bucket, so as to give one an
accurate idea of what it is like. I am moved to do it, but I must not:
it is better to be refined than accurate when one is talking about a
production like that.
Christian-Science literary oleomargarine is a monopoly of the Mother
Church Headquarters Factory in Boston; none genuine without the
trade-mark of the Trust. You must apply there, and not elsewhere; and
you pay your money before you get your soap-fat.
The Trust has still other sources of income. Mrs. Eddy is president (and
perhaps proprietor?) of the Trust's Metaphysical College in Boston, where
the student who has practised C.S. healing during three years the best
he knew how perfects himself in the game by a two weeks' course, and pays
one hundred dollars for it! And I have a case among my statistics where
the student had a three weeks' course and paid three hundred for it.
The Trust does love the Dollar when it isn't a spiritual one.
In order to force the sale of Mrs. Eddy's Bible-Annex, no healer,
Metaphysical College-bred or other, is allowed to practise the game
unless he possess a copy of that holy nightmare. That means a large and
constantly augmenting income for the Trust. No C.S. family would
consider itself loyal or pious or pain-proof without an Annex or two in
the house. That means an income for the Trust--in the near future--of
millions: not thousands--millions a year.
No member, young or old, of a Christian-Scientist church can retain that
membership unless he pay 'capitation tax' to the Boston Trust every year.
That means an income for the Trust--in the near future--of millions more
It is a reasonably safe guess that in America in 1910 there will be
10,000,000 Christian Scientists, and 3,000,000 in Great Britain; that
these figures will be trebled by 1920; that in America in 1910 the
Christian Scientists will be a political force, in 1920 politically
formidable--to remain that, permanently. And I think it a reasonable
guess that the Trust (which is already in our day pretty brusque in its
ways) will then be the most insolent and unscrupulous and tyrannical
politico-religious master that has dominated a people since the palmy
days of the Inquisition. And a stronger master than the strongest of
bygone times, because this one will have a financial strength not dreamed
of by any predecessor; as effective a concentration of irresponsible
power as any predecessor had; in the railway, the telegraph, and the
subsidised newspaper, better facilities for watching and managing his
empire than any predecessor has had; and after a generation or two he
will probably divide Christendom with the Catholic Church.
The Roman Church has a perfect organisation, and it has an effective
centralisation of power--but not of its cash. Its multitude of Bishops
are rich, but their riches remain in large measure in their own hands.
They collect from 200,000,000 of people, but they keep the bulk of the
result at home. The Boston Pope of by-and-by will draw his dollar-a-head
capitation-tax from 300,000,000 of the human race, and the Annex and the
rest of his book-shop will fetch in double as much more; and his
Metaphysical Colleges, the annual pilgrimage to Mrs. Eddy's tomb, from
all over the world--admission, the Christian-Science Dollar (payable in
advance)--purchases of consecrated glass beads, candles, memorial spoons,
aureoled chromo-portraits and bogus autographs of Mrs. Eddy, cash
offerings at her shrine--no crutches of cured cripples received, and no
imitations of miraculously restored broken legs and necks allowed to be
hung up except when made out of the Holy Metal and proved by fire-assay;
cash for miracles worked at the tomb: these money-sources, with a
thousand to be yet invented and ambushed upon the devotee, will bring the
annual increment well up above a billion. And nobody but the Trust will
have the handling of it. No Bishops appointed unless they agree to hand
in 90 per cent. of the catch. In that day the Trust will monopolise the
manufacture and sale of the Old and New Testaments as well as the Annex,
and raise their price to Annex rates, and compel the devotee to buy (for
even to-day a healer has to have the Annex and the Scriptures or he is
not allowed to work the game), and that will bring several hundred
million dollars more. In those days the Trust will have an income
approaching $5,000,000 a day, and no expenses to be taken out of it; no
taxes to pay, and no charities to support. That last detail should not
be lightly passed over by the read; it is well entitled to attention.
No charities to support. No, nor even to contribute to. One searches in
vain the Trust's advertisements and the utterances of its pulpit for any
suggestion that it spends a penny on orphans, widows, discharged
prisoners, hospitals, ragged schools, night missions, city missions,
foreign missions, libraries, old people's homes, or any other object that
appeals to a human being's purse through his heart.
I have hunted, hunted, and hunted, by correspondence and otherwise, and
have not yet got upon the track of a farthing that the Trust has spent
upon any worthy object. Nothing makes a Scientist so uncomfortable as to
ask him if he knows of a case where Christian Science has spent money on
a benevolence, either among its own adherents or elsewhere. He is
obliged to say no. And then one discovers that the person questioned has
been asked the question many times before, and that it is getting to be a
sore subject with him. Why a sore subject? Because he has written his
chiefs and asked with high confidence for an answer that will confound
these questioners--and the chiefs did not reply. He has written again--
and then again--not with confidence, but humbly, now, and has begged for
defensive ammunition in the voice of supplication. A reply does at last
come--to this effect: 'We must have faith in Our Mother, and rest content
in the conviction that whatever She does with the money it is in
accordance with orders from Heaven, for She does no act of any kind
without first "demonstrating over" it.'
That settles it--as far as the disciple is concerned. His Mind is
entirely satisfied with that answer; he gets down his Annex and does an
incantation or two, and that mesmerises his spirit and puts that to
sleep--brings it peace. Peace and comfort and joy, until some inquirer
punctures the old sore again.
Through friends in America I asked some questions, and in some cases got
definite and informing answers; in other cases the answers were not
definite and not valuable. From the definite answers I gather than the
'capitation-tax' is compulsory, and that the sum is one dollar. To the
question, 'Does any of the money go to charities?' the answer from an
authoritative source was: 'No, *not in the sense usually conveyed by this
word*.' (The italics are mine.) That answer is cautious. But definite,
I think--utterly and unassailably definite--although quite
Christian-scientifically foggy in its phrasing. Christian Science is
generally foggy, generally diffuse, generally garrulous. The writer was
aware that the first word in his phrase answered the question which I was
asking, but he could not help adding nine dark words. Meaningless ones,
unless explained by him. It is quite likely--as intimated by him--that
Christian Science has invented a new class of objects to apply the word
charity to, but without an explanation we cannot know what they are. We
quite easily and naturally and confidently guess that they are in all
cases objects which will return five hundred per cent. on the Trust's
investment in them, but guessing is not knowledge; it is merely, in this
case, a sort of nine-tenths certainty deducible from what we think we
know of the Trust's trade principles and its sly and furtive and shifty
Sly? Deep? Judicious? The Trust understands business. The Trust does
not give itself away. It defeats all the attempts of us impertinents to
get at its trade secrets. To this day, after all our diligence, we have
not been able to get it to confess what it does with the money. It does
not even let its own disciples find out. All it says is, that the matter
has been 'demonstrated over.' Now and then a lay Scientist says, with a
grateful exultation, that Mrs. Eddy is enormously rich, but he stops
there; as to whether any of the money goes to other charities or not, he
is obliged to admit that he does not know. However, the Trust is
composed of human beings; and this justifies the conjecture that if it
had a charity on its list which it did not need to blush for, we should
soon hear of it.
'Without money and without price.' Those used to be the terms. Mrs.
Eddy's Annex cancels them. The motto of Christian Science is 'The
labourer is worthy of his hire.' And now that it has been 'demonstrated
over,' we find its spiritual meaning to be, 'Do anything and everything
your hand may find to do; and charge cash for it, and collect the money
in advance.' The Scientist has on his tongue's end a cut-and-dried,
Boston-supplied set of rather lean arguments whose function is to show
that it is a Heaven-commanded duty to do this, and that the croupiers of
the game have no choice by to obey.
The Trust seems to be a reincarnation. Exodus xxxii.4.
I have no reverence for Mrs. Eddy and the rest of the Trust--if there is
a rest--but I am not lacking in reverence for the sincerities of the lay
membership of the new Church. There is every evidence that the lay
members are entirely sincere in their faith, and I think sincerity is
always entitled to honour and respect, let the inspiration of the
sincerity be what it may. Zeal and sincerity can carry a new religion
further than any other missionary except fire and sword, and I believe
that the new religion will conquer the half of Christendom in a hundred
years. I am not intending this as a compliment to the human race, I am
merely stating an opinion. And yet I think that perhaps it is a
compliment to the race. I keep in mind that saying of an orthodox
preacher--quoted further back. He conceded that this new Christianity
frees its possessor's life from frets, fears, vexations, bitterness, and
all sorts of imagination-propagated maladies and pains, and fills his
world with sunshine and his heart with gladness. If Christian Science,
with this stupendous equipment--and final salvation added--cannot win
half the Christian globe, I must be badly mistaken in the make-up of the
I think the Trust will be handed down like the other papacy, and will
always know how to handle its limitless cash. It will press the button;
the zeal, the energy, the sincerity, the enthusiasm of its countless
vassals will do the rest.
The power which a man's imagination has over his body to heal it or make
it sick is a force which none of us is born without. The first man had
it, the last one will possess it. If left to himself a man is most
likely to use only the mischievous half of the force--the half which
invents imaginary ailments for him and cultivates them: and if he is one
of these very wise people he is quite likely to scoff at the beneficent
half of the force and deny its existence. And so, to heal or help that
man, two imaginations are required: his own and some outsider's. The
outsider, B, must imagine that his incantations are the healing power
that is curing A, and A must imagine that this is so. It is not so, at
all; but no matter, the cure is effected, and that is the main thing.
The outsider's work is unquestionably valuable; so valuable that it may
fairly be likened to the essential work performed by the engineer when he
handles the throttle and turns on the steam: the actual power is lodged
exclusively in the engine, but if the engine were left alone it would
never start of itself. Whether the engineer be named Jim, or Bob, or
Tom, it is all one--his services are necessary, and he is entitled to
such wage as he can get you to pay. Whether he be named Christian
Scientist, or Mental Scientist, or Mind Curist, or Lourdes Miracle-
Worker, or King's-Evil Expert, it is all one,--he is merely the Engineer,
he simply turns on the same old steam and the engine does the whole work.
In the case of the cure-engine it is a distinct advantage to clothe the
engineer in religious overalls and give him a pious name. It greatly
enlarges the business, and does no one any harm.
The Christian-Scientist engineer drives exactly the same trade as the
other engineers, yet he out-prospers the whole of them put together. Is
it because he has captured the takingest name? I think that that is only
a small part of it. I think that the secret of his high prosperity lies
The Christian Scientist has organised the business. Now that was
certainly a gigantic idea. There is more intellect in it than would be
needed in the invention of a couple of millions of Eddy Science-and-
Health Bible Annexes. Electricity, in limitless volume, has existed in
the air and the rocks and the earth and everywhere since time began--and
was going to waste all the while. In our time we have organised that
scattered and wandering force and set it to work, and backed the business
with capital, and concentrated it in few and competent hands, and the
results are as we see.
The Christian Scientist has taken a force which has been lying idle in
every member of the human race since time began, and has organised it,
and backed the business with capital, and concentrated it at Boston
headquarters in the hands of a small and very competent Trust, and there
Therein lies the promise that this monopoly is going to extend its
commerce wide in the earth. I think that if the business were conducted
in the loose and disconnected fashion customary with such things, it
would achieve but little more than the modest prosperity usually secured
by unorganised great moral and commercial ventures; but I believe that so
long as this one remains compactly organised and closely concentrated in
a Trust, the spread of its dominion will continue.
VIENNA: May 1, 1899.
 After raising a dead child to life, the disciple who did it writes an
account of her performance, to Mrs. Eddy, and closes it thus: 'My prayer
daily is to be more spiritual, that I may do more as you would have me
do... and may we all love you more and so live it that the world may
know that the Christ is come.'--Printed in the Concord, N.H.,
Independent Statesman, March 9, 1899. If this is no worship, it is a
good imitation of it.
 In the past two years the membership of the Established Church of
England have given voluntary contributions amounting to $73,000,000 to
the Church's benevolent enterprises. Churches that give have nothing to
 I may be introducing the capital S a little early--still it is on its
IS HE LIVING OR IS HE DEAD?
I was spending the month of March 1892 at Mentone, in the Riviera. At
this retired spot one has all the advantages, privately, which are to be
had publicly at Monte Carlo and Nice, a few miles farther along. That is
to say, one has the flooding sunshine, the balmy air and the brilliant
blue sea, without the marring additions of human pow-wow and fuss and
feathers and display. Mentone is quiet, simple, restful, unpretentious;
the rich and the gaudy do not come there. As a rule, I mean, the rich do
not come there. Now and then a rich man comes, and I presently got
acquainted with one of these. Partially to disguise him I will call him
Smith. One day, in the Hotel des Anglais, at the second breakfast, he
'Quick! Cast your eye on the man going out at the door. Take in every
detail of him.'
'Do you know who he is?'
'Yes. He spent several days here before you came. He is an old,
retired, and very rich silk manufacturer from Lyons, they say, and I
guess he is alone in the world, for he always looks sad and dreamy, and
doesn't talk with anybody. His name is Theophile Magnan.'
I supposed that Smith would now proceed to justify the large interest
which he had shown in Monsieur Magnan, but, instead, he dropped into a
brown study, and was apparently lost to me and to the rest of the world
during some minutes. Now and then he passed his fingers through his
flossy white hair, to assist his thinking, and meantime he allowed his
breakfast to go on cooling. At last he said:
'No, it's gone; I can't call it back.'
'Can't call what back?'
'It's one of Hans Andersen's beautiful little stories. But it's gone fro
me. Part of it is like this: A child has a caged bird, which it loves
but thoughtlessly neglects. The bird pours out its song unheard and
unheeded; but, in time, hunger and thirst assail the creature, and its
song grows plaintive and feeble and finally ceases--the bird dies. The
child comes, and is smitten to the heart with remorse: then, with bitter
tears and lamentations, it calls its mates, and they bury the bird with
elaborate pomp and the tenderest grief, without knowing, poor things,
that it isn't children only who starve poets to death and then spend
enough on their funerals and monuments to have kept them alive and made
them easy and comfortable. Now--'
But here we were interrupted. About ten that evening I ran across Smith,
and he asked me up to his parlour to help him smoke and drink hot Scotch.
It was a cosy place, with its comfortable chairs, its cheerful lamps, and
its friendly open fire of seasoned olive-wood. To make everything
perfect, there was a muffled booming of the surf outside. After the
second Scotch and much lazy and contented chat, Smith said:
'Now we are properly primed--I to tell a curious history and you to
listen to it. It has been a secret for many years--a secret between me
and three others; but I am going to break the seal now. Are you
'Perfectly. Go on.'
Here follows what he told me:
'A long time ago I was a young artist--a very young artist, in fact--and
I wandered about the country parts of France, sketching here and
sketching there, and was presently joined by a couple of darling young
Frenchmen who were at the same kind of thing that I was doing. We were
as happy as we were poor, or as poor as we were happy--phrase it to suit
yourself. Claude Frere and Carl Boulanger--these are the names of those
boys; dear, dear fellows, and the sunniest spirits that ever laughed at
poverty and had a noble good time in all weathers.
'At last we ran hard aground in a Breton village, and an artist as poor
as ourselves took us in and literally saved us from starving--Francois
'What! the great Francois Millet?'
'Great? He wasn't any greater than we were, then. He hadn't any fame,
even in his own village; and he was so poor that he hadn't anything to
feed us on but turnips, and even the turnips failed us sometimes. We
four became fast friends, doting friends, inseparables. We painted away
together with all our might, piling up stock, piling up stock, but very
seldom getting rid of any of it. We had lovely times together; but, O my
soul! how we were pinched now and then!
'For a little over two years this went on. At last, one day, Claude
'"Boys, we've come to the end. Do you understand that?--absolutely to
the end. Everybody has struck--there's a league formed against us. I've
been all around the village and it's just as I tell you. They refuse to
credit us for another centime until all the odds and ends are paid up."
'This struck us as cold. Every face was blank with dismay. We realised
that our circumstances were desperate, now. There was a long silence.
Finally, Millet said with a sigh:
'"Nothing occurs to me--nothing. Suggest something, lads."
'There was no response, unless a mournful silence may be called a
response. Carl got up, and walked nervously up and down a while, then
'"It's a shame! Look at these canvases: stacks and stacks of as good
pictures as anybody in Europe paints--I don't care who he is. Yes, and
plenty of lounging strangers have said the same--or nearly that, anyway."
'"But didn't buy," Millet said.
'"No matter, they said it; and it's true, too. Look at your 'Angelus'
there! Will anybody tell me--"
'"Pah, Carl--My 'Angelus!' I was offered five francs for it."
'"Who offered it?"
'"Where is he?"
'"Why didn't you take it?"
'"Come--don't all speak at once. I thought he would give more--I was
sure of it--he looked it--so I asked him eight."
'"He said he would call again."
'"Thunder and lightning! Why, Francois--"
'"Oh, I know--I know! It was a mistake, and I was a fool. Boys, I meant
for the best; you'll grant me that, and I--"
'"Why, certainly, we know that, bless your dear heart; but don't you be a
'"I? I wish somebody would come along and offer us a cabbage for it--
'"A cabbage! Oh, don't name it--it makes my mouth water. Talk of things
'"Boys," said Carl, "do these pictures lack merit? Answer me that."
'"Aren't they of very great and high merit? Answer me that."
'"Of such great and high merit that, if an illustrious name were attached
to them they would sell at splendid prices. Isn't it so?"
'"Certainly it is. Nobody doubts that."
'"But--I'm not joking--isn't it so?"
'"Why, of course it's so--and we are not joking. But what of it. What
of it? How does that concern us?"
'"In this way, comrades--we'll attach an illustrious name to them!"
'The lively conversation stopped. The faces were turned inquiringly upon
Carl. What sort of riddle might this be? Where was an illustrious name
to be borrowed? And who was to borrow it?
'Carl sat down, and said:
'"Now, I have a perfectly serious thing to propose. I think it is the
only way to keep us out of the almshouse, and I believe it to be a
perfectly sure way. I base this opinion upon certain multitudinous and
long-established facts in human history. I believe my project will make
us all rich."
'"Rich! You've lost your mind."
'"No, I haven't."
'"Yes, you have--you've lost your mind. What do you call rich?"
'"A hundred thousand francs apiece."
'"He has lost his mind. I knew it."
'"Yes, he has. Carl, privation has been too much for you, and--"
'"Carl, you want to take a pill and get right to bed."
'"Bandage him first--bandage his head, and then--"
'"No, bandage his heels; his brains have been settling for weeks--I've
'"Shut up!" said Millet, with ostensible severity, "and let the boy have
his say. Now, then--come out with your project, Carl. What is it?"
'"Well, then, by way of preamble I will ask you to note this fact in
human history: that the merit of many a great artist has never been
acknowledged until after he was starved and dead. This has happened so
often that I make bold to found a law upon it. This law: that the merit
of every great unknown and neglected artist must and will be recognised
and his pictures climb to high prices after his death. My project is
this: we must cast lots--one of us must die."
'The remark fell so calmly and so unexpectedly that we almost forgot to
jump. Then there was a wild chorus of advice again--medical advice--for
the help of Carl's brain; but he waited patiently for the hilarity to
calm down, and then went on again with his project:
'"Yes, one of us must die, to save the others--and himself. We will cast
lots. The one chosen shall be illustrious, all of us shall be rich.
Hold still, now--hold still; don't interrupt--I tell you I know what I am
talking about. Here is the idea. During the next three months the one
who is to die shall paint with all his might, enlarge his stock all he
can--not pictures, no! skeleton sketches, studies, parts of studies,
fragments of studies, a dozen dabs of the brush on each--meaningless, of
course, but his, with his cipher on them; turn out fifty a day, each to
contain some peculiarity or mannerism easily detectable as his--they're
the things that sell, you know, and are collected at fabulous prices for
the world's museums, after the great man is gone; we'll have a ton of
them ready--a ton! And all that time the rest of us will be busy
supporting the moribund, and working Paris and the dealers--preparations
for the coming event, you know; and when everything is hot and just
right, we'll spring the death on them and have the notorious funeral.
You get the idea?"
'"N-o; at least, not qu--"
'"Not quite? Don't you see? The man doesn't really die; he changes his
name and vanishes; we bury a dummy, and cry over it, with all the world
to help. And I--"
'But he wasn't allowed to finish. Everybody broke out into a rousing
hurrah of applause; and all jumped up and capered about the room and fell
on each other's necks in transports of gratitude and joy. For hours we
talked over the great plan, without ever feeling hungry; and at last,
when all the details had been arranged satisfactorily, we cast lots and
Millet was elected--elected to die, as we called it. Then we scraped
together those things which one never parts with until he is betting them
against future wealth--keepsake trinkets and suchlike--and these we
pawned for enough to furnish us a frugal farewell supper and breakfast,
and leave us a few francs over for travel, and a stake of turnips and
such for Millet to live on for a few days.
'Next morning, early, the three of us cleared out, straightway after
breakfast--on foot, of course. Each of us carried a dozen of Millet's
small pictures, purposing to market them. Carl struck for Paris, where
he would start the work of building up Millet's name against the coming
great day. Claude and I were to separate, and scatter abroad over
'Now, it will surprise you to know what an easy and comfortable thing we
had. I walked two days before I began business. Then I began to sketch
a villa in the outskirts of a big town--because I saw the proprietor
standing on an upper veranda. He came down to look on--I thought he
would. I worked swiftly, intending to keep him interested. Occasionally
he fired off a little ejaculation of approbation, and by-and-by he spoke
up with enthusiasm, and said I was a master!
'I put down my brush, reached into my satchel, fetched out a Millet, and
pointed to the cipher in the corner. I said, proudly:
'"I suppose you recognise that? Well, he taught me! I should think I
ought to know my trade!"
'The man looked guiltily embarrassed, and was silent. I said
'"You don't mean to intimate that you don't know the cipher of Francois
'Of course he didn't know that cipher; but he was the gratefullest man
you ever saw, just the same, for being let out of an uncomfortable place
on such easy terms. He said:
'"No! Why, it is Millet's, sure enough! I don't know what I could have
been thinking of. Of course I recognise it now."
'Next, he wanted to buy it; but I said that although I wasn't rich I
wasn't that poor. However, at last, I let him have it for eight hundred
'Yes. Millet would have sold it for a pork chop. Yes, I got eight
hundred francs for that little thing. I wish I could get it back for
eighty thousand. But that time's gone by. I made a very nice picture of
that man's house and I wanted to offer it to him for ten francs, but that
wouldn't answer, seeing I was the pupil of such a master, so I sold it to
him for a hundred. I sent the eight hundred francs straight to Millet
from that town and struck out again next day.
'But I didn't walk--no. I rode. I have ridden ever since. I sold one
picture every day, and never tried to sell two. I always said to my
'"I am a fool to sell a picture of Francois Millet's at all, for that man
is not going to live three months, and when he dies his pictures can't be
had for love or money."
'I took care to spread that little fact as far as I could, and prepare
the world for the event.
'I take credit to myself for our plan of selling the pictures--it was
mine. I suggested it that last evening when we were laying out our
campaign, and all three of us agreed to give it a good fair trial before
giving it up for some other. It succeeded with all of us. I walked only
two days, Claude walked two--both of afraid to make Millet celebrated too
close to home--but Carl walked only half a day, the bright,
conscienceless rascal, and after that he travelled like a duke.
'Every now and then we got in with a country editor and started an item
around through the press; not an item announcing that a new painter had
been discovered, but an item which let on that everybody knew Francois
Millet; not an item praising him in any way, but merely a word concerning
the present condition of the "master"--sometimes hopeful, sometimes
despondent, but always tinged with fears for the worst. We always marked
these paragraphs, and sent the papers to all the people who had bought
pictures of us.
'Carl was soon in Paris and he worked things with a high hand. He made
friends with the correspondents, and got Millet's condition reported to
England and all over the continent, and America, and everywhere.
'At the end of six weeks from the start, we three met in Paris and called
a halt, and stopped sending back to Millet for additional pictures. The
boom was so high, and everything so ripe, that we saw that it would be a
mistake not to strike now, right away, without waiting any longer. So we
wrote Millet to go to bed and begin to waste away pretty fast, for we
should like him to die in ten days if he could get ready.
'Then we figured up and found that among us we had sold eighty-five small
pictures and studies, and had sixty-nine thousand francs to show for it.
Carl had made the last sale and the most brilliant one of all. He sold
the "Angelus" for twenty-two hundred francs. How we did glorify him!--
not foreseeing that a day was coming by-and-by when France would struggle
to own it and a stranger would capture it for five hundred and fifty
'We had a wind-up champagne supper that night, and next day Claude and I
packed up and went off to nurse Millet through his last days and keep
busybodies out of the house and send daily bulletins to Carl in Paris for
publication in the papers of several continents for the information of a
waiting world. The sad end came at last, and Carl was there in time to
help in the final mournful rites.
'You remember that great funeral, and what a stir it made all over the
globe, and how the illustrious of two worlds came to attend it and
testify their sorrow. We four--still inseparable--carried the coffin,
and would allow none to help. And we were right about that, because it
hadn't anything in it but a wax figure, and any other coffin-bearers
would have found fault with the weight. Yes, we same old four, who had
lovingly shared privation together in the old hard times now gone for
ever, carried the cof--'
'We four--for Millet helped to carry his own coffin. In disguise, you
know. Disguised as a relative--distant relative.'
'But true just the same. Well, you remember how the pictures went up.
Money? We didn't know what to do with it. there's a man in Paris to-day
who owns seventy Millet pictures. He paid us two million francs for
them. And as for the bushels of sketches and studies which Millet
shovelled out during the six weeks that we were on the road, well, it
would astonish you to know the figure we sell them at nowadays--that is,
when we consent to let one go!'
'It is a wonderful history, perfectly wonderful!'
'Yes--it amounts to that.'
'Whatever became of Millet?'
'Can you keep a secret?'
'Do you remember the man I called your attention to in the dining room
to-day? That was Francois Millet.'
'Scott! Yes. For once they didn't starve a genius to death and then put
into other pockets the rewards he should have had himself. This
song-bird was not allowed to pipe out its heart unheard and then be paid
with the cold pomp of a big funeral. We looked out for that.'
MY DEBUT AS A LITERARY PERSON
In those early days I had already published one little thing ('The
Jumping Frog') in an Eastern paper, but I did not consider that that
counted. In my view, a person who published things in a mere newspaper
could not properly claim recognition as a Literary Person: he must rise
away above that; he must appear in a magazine. He would then be a
Literary Person; also, he would be famous--right away. These two
ambitions were strong upon me. This was in 1866. I prepared my
contribution, and then looked around for the best magazine to go up to
glory in. I selected the most important one in New York. The
contribution was accepted. I signed it 'MARK TWAIN;' for that name had
some currency on the Pacific coast, and it was my idea to spread it all
over the world, now, at this one jump. The article appeared in the
December number, and I sat up a month waiting for the January number; for
that one would contain the year's list of contributors, my name would be
in it, and I should be famous and could give the banquet I was
I did not give the banquet. I had not written the 'MARK TWAIN'
distinctly; it was a fresh name to Eastern printers, and they put it
'Mike Swain' or 'MacSwain,' I do not remember which. At any rate, I was
not celebrated and I did not give the banquet. I was a Literary Person,
but that was all--a buried one; buried alive.
My article was about the burning of the clipper-ship 'Hornet' on the
line, May 3, 1866. There were thirty-one men on board at the time, and I
was in Honolulu when the fifteen lean and ghostly survivors arrived there
after a voyage of forty-three days in an open boat, through the blazing
tropics, on ten days' rations of food. A very remarkable trip; but it
was conducted by a captain who was a remarkable man, otherwise there
would have been no survivors. He was a New Englander of the best
sea-going stock of the old capable times--Captain Josiah Mitchell.
I was in the islands to write letters for the weekly edition of the
Sacramento 'Union,' a rich and influential daily journal which hadn't any
use for them, but could afford to spend twenty dollars a week for
nothing. The proprietors were lovable and well-beloved men: long ago
dead, no doubt, but in me there is at least one person who still holds
them in grateful remembrance; for I dearly wanted to see the islands, and
they listened to me and gave me the opportunity when there was but
slender likelihood that it could profit them in any way.
I had been in the islands several months when the survivors arrived. I
was laid up in my room at the time, and unable to walk. Here was a great
occasion to serve my journal, and I not able to take advantage of it.
Necessarily I was in deep trouble. But by good luck his Excellency Anson
Burlingame was there at the time, on his way to take up his post in
China, where he did such good work for the United States. He came and
put me on a stretcher and had me carried to the hospital where the
shipwrecked men were, and I never needed to ask a question. He attended
to all of that himself, and I had nothing to do but make the notes. It
was like him to take that trouble. He was a great man and a great
American, and it was in his fine nature to come down from his high office
and do a friendly turn whenever he could.
We got through with this work at six in the evening. I took no dinner,
for there was no time to spare if I would beat the other correspondents.
I spent four hours arranging the notes in their proper order, then wrote
all night and beyond it; with this result: that I had a very long and
detailed account of the 'Hornet' episode ready at nine in the morning,
while the other correspondents of the San Francisco journals had nothing
but a brief outline report--for they didn't sit up. The now-and-then
schooner was to sail for San Francisco about nine; when I reached the
dock she was free forward and was just casting off her stern-line. My
fat envelope was thrown by a strong hand, and fell on board all right,
and my victory was a safe thing. All in due time the ship reached San
Francisco, but it was my complete report which made the stir and was
telegraphed to the New York papers, by Mr. Cash; he was in charge of the
Pacific bureau of the 'New York Herald' at the time.
When I returned to California by-and-by, I went up to Sacramento and
presented a bill for general correspondence at twenty dollars a week. It
was paid. Then I presented a bill for 'special' service on the 'Hornet'
matter of three columns of solid nonpareil at a hundred dollars a column.
The cashier didn't faint, but he came rather near it. He sent for the
proprietors, and they came and never uttered a protest. They only
laughed in their jolly fashion, and said it was robbery, but no matter;
it was a grand 'scoop' (the bill or my 'Hornet' report, I didn't know
which): 'Pay it. It's all right.' The best men that ever owned a
The 'Hornet' survivors reached the Sandwich Islands the 15th of June.
They were mere skinny skeletons; their clothes hung limp about them and
fitted them no better than a flag fits the flag-staff in a calm. But
they were well nursed in the hospital; the people of Honolulu kept them
supplied with all the dainties they could need; they gathered strength
fast, and were presently nearly as good as new. Within a fortnight the
most of them took ship for San Francisco; that is, if my dates have not
gone astray in my memory. I went in the same ship, a sailing-vessel.
Captain Mitchell of the 'Hornet' was along; also the only passengers the
'Hornet' had carried. These were two young men from Stamford,
Connecticut--brothers: Samuel and Henry Ferguson. The 'Hornet' was a
clipper of the first class and a fast sailer; the young men's quarters
were roomy and comfortable, and were well stocked with books, and also
with canned meats and fruits to help out the ship-fare with; and when the
ship cleared from New York harbour in the first week of January there was
promise that she would make quick and pleasant work of the fourteen or
fifteen thousand miles in front of her. As soon as the cold latitudes
were left behind and the vessel entered summer weather, the voyage became
a holiday picnic. The ship flew southward under a cloud of sail which
needed no attention, no modifying or change of any kind, for days
together. The young men read, strolled the ample deck, rested and
drowsed in the shade of the canvas, took their meals with the captain;
and when the day was done they played dummy whist with him till bed-time.
After the snow and ice and tempests of the Horn, the ship bowled
northward into summer weather again, and the trip was a picnic once more.
Until the early morning of the 3rd of May. Computed position of the ship
112 degrees 10 minutes longitude, latitude 2 degrees above the equator;
no wind, no sea--dead calm; temperature of the atmosphere, tropical,
blistering, unimaginable by one who has not been roasted in it. There
was a cry of fire. An unfaithful sailor had disobeyed the rules and gone
into the booby-hatch with an open light to draw some varnish from a cask.
The proper result followed, and the vessel's hours were numbered.
There was not much time to spare, but the captain made the most of it.
The three boats were launched--long-boat and two quarter-boats. That the
time was very short and the hurry and excitement considerable is
indicated by the fact that in launching the boats a hole was stove in the
side of one of them by some sort of collision, and an oar driven through
the side of another. The captain's first care was to have four sick
sailors brought up and placed on deck out of harm's way--among them a
'Portyghee.' This man had not done a day's work on the voyage, but had
lain in his hammock four months nursing an abscess. When we were taking
notes in the Honolulu hospital and a sailor told this to Mr. Burlingame,
the third mate, who was lying near, raised his head with an effort, and
in a weak voice made this correction--with solemnity and feeling:
'Raising abscesses! He had a family of them. He done it to keep from
standing his watch.'
Any provisions that lay handy were gathered up by the men and two
passengers and brought and dumped on the deck where the 'Portyghee' lay;
then they ran for more. The sailor who was telling this to Mr.
'We pulled together thirty-two days' rations for the thirty-one men that
The third mate lifted his head again and made another correction--with
'The "Portyghee" et twenty-two of them while he was soldiering there and
nobody noticing. A damned hound.'
The fire spread with great rapidity. The smoke and flame drove the men
back, and they had to stop their incomplete work of fetching provisions,
and take to the boats with only ten days' rations secured.
Each boat had a compass, a quadrant, a copy of Bowditch's 'Navigator,'
and a Nautical Almanac, and the captain's and chief mate's boats had
chronometers. There were thirty-one men all told. The captain took an
account of stock, with the following result: four hams, nearly thirty
pounds of salt pork, half-box of raisins, one hundred pounds of bread,
twelve two-pound cans of oysters, clams, and assorted meats, a keg
containing four pounds of butter, twelve gallons of water in a forty-
gallon 'scuttle-butt', four one-gallon demijohns full of water, three
bottles of brandy (the property of passengers), some pipes, matches, and
a hundred pounds of tobacco. No medicines. Of course the whole party
had to go on short rations at once.
The captain and the two passengers kept diaries. On our voyage to San
Francisco we ran into a calm in the middle of the Pacific, and did not
move a rod during fourteen days; this gave me a chance to copy the
diaries. Samuel Ferguson's is the fullest; I will draw upon it now.
When the following paragraph was written the doomed ship was about one
hundred and twenty days out from port, and all hands were putting in the
lazy time about as usual, as no one was forecasting disaster.
[Diary entry] May 2. Latitude 1 degree 28 minutes N., longitude 111
degrees 38 minutes W. Another hot and sluggish day; at one time,
however, the clouds promised wind, and there came a slight breeze--
just enough to keep us going. The only thing to chronicle to-day is
the quantities of fish about; nine bonitos were caught this
forenoon, and some large albacores seen. After dinner the first
mate hooked a fellow which he could not hold, so he let the line go
to the captain, who was on the bow. He, holding on, brought the
fish to with a jerk, and snap went the line, hook and all. We also
saw astern, swimming lazily after us, an enormous shark, which must
have been nine or ten feet long. We tried him with all sorts of
lines and a piece of pork, but he declined to take hold. I suppose
he had appeased his appetite on the heads and other remains of the
bonitos we had thrown overboard.
Next day's entry records the disaster. The three boats got away, retired
to a short distance, and stopped. The two injured ones were leaking
badly; some of the men were kept busy baling, others patched the holes as
well as they could. The captain, the two passengers, and eleven men were
in the long-boat, with a share of the provisions and water, and with no
room to spare, for the boat was only twenty-one feet long, six wide, and
three deep. The chief mate and eight men were in one of the small boats,
the second mate and seven men in the other. The passengers had saved no
clothing but what they had on, excepting their overcoats. The ship,
clothed in flame and sending up a vast column of black smoke into the
sky, made a grand picture in the solitudes of the sea, and hour after
hour the outcasts sat and watched it. Meantime the captain ciphered on
the immensity of the distance that stretched between him and the nearest
available land, and then scaled the rations down to meet the emergency;
half a biscuit for dinner; one biscuit and some canned meat for dinner;
half a biscuit for tea; a few swallows of water for each meal. And so
hunger began to gnaw while the ship was still burning.
[Diary entry] May 4. The ship burned all night very brightly, and
hopes are that some ship has seen the light and is bearing down upon
us. None seen, however, this forenoon, so we have determined to go
together north and a little west to some islands in 18 degrees or 19
degrees north latitude and 114 degrees to 115 degrees west
longitude, hoping in the meantime to be picked up by some ship. The
ship sank suddenly at about 5 A.M. We find the sun very hot and
scorching, but all try to keep out of it as much as we can.
They did a quite natural thing now: waited several hours for that
possible ship that might have seen the light to work her slow way to them
through the nearly dead calm. Then they gave it up and set about their
plans. If you will look at the map you will say that their course could
be easily decided. Albemarle Island (Galapagos group) lies straight
eastward nearly a thousand miles; the islands referred to in the diary as
'some islands' (Revillagigedo Islands) lie, as they think, in some widely
uncertain region northward about one thousand miles and westward one
hundred or one hundred and fifty miles. Acapulco, on the Mexican coast,
lies about north-east something short of one thousand miles. You will
say random rocks in the ocean are not what is wanted; let them strike for
Acapulco and the solid continent. That does look like the rational
course, but one presently guesses from the diaries that the thing would
have been wholly irrational--indeed, suicidal. If the boats struck for
Albemarle they would be in the doldrums all the way; and that means a
watery perdition, with winds which are wholly crazy, and blow from all
points of the compass at once and also perpendicularly. If the boats
tried for Acapulco they would get out of the doldrums when half-way
there--in case they ever got half-way--and then they would be in
lamentable case, for there they would meet the north-east trades coming
down in their teeth, and these boats were so rigged that they could not
sail within eight points of the wind. So they wisely started northward,
with a slight slant to the west. They had but ten days' short allowance
of food; the long-boat was towing the others; they could not depend on
making any sort of definite progress in the doldrums, and they had four
or five hundred miles of doldrums in front of them yet. They are the
real equator, a tossing, roaring, rainy belt, ten or twelve hundred miles
broad, which girdles the globe.
It rained hard the first night and all got drenched, but they filled up
their water-butt. The brothers were in the stern with the captain, who
steered. The quarters were cramped; no one got much sleep. 'Kept on our
course till squalls headed us off.'
Stormy and squally the next morning, with drenching rains. A heavy and
dangerous 'cobbling' sea. One marvels how such boats could live in it.
Is it called a feat of desperate daring when one man and a dog cross the
Atlantic in a boat the size of a long-boat, and indeed it is; but this
long-boat was overloaded with men and other plunder, and was only three
feet deep. 'We naturally thought often of all at home, and were glad to
remember that it was Sacrament Sunday, and that prayers would go up from
our friends for us, although they know not our peril.'
The captain got not even a cat-nap during the first three days and
nights, but he got a few winks of sleep the fourth night. 'The worst sea
yet.' About ten at night the captain changed his course and headed
east-north-east, hoping to make Clipperton Rock. If he failed, no
matter; he would be in a better position to make those other islands. I
will mention here that he did not find that rock.
On May 8 no wind all day; sun blistering hot; they take to the oars.
Plenty of dolphins, but they couldn't catch any. 'I think we are all
beginning to realise more and more the awful situation we are in.' 'It
often takes a ship a week to get through the doldrums; how much longer,
then, such a craft as ours?' 'We are so crowded that we cannot stretch
ourselves out for a good sleep, but have to take it any way we can get
Of course this feature will grow more and more trying, but it will be
human nature to cease to set it down; there will be five weeks of it yet
--we must try to remember that for the diarist; it will make our beds the
May 9 the sun gives him a warning: 'Looking with both eyes, the horizon
crossed thus +.' 'Henry keeps well, but broods over our troubles more
than I wish he did.' They caught two dolphins; they tasted well. 'The
captain believed the compass out of the way, but the long-invisible north
star came out--a welcome sight--and endorsed the compass.'
May 10, 'latitude 7 degrees 0 minutes 3 seconds N., longitude 111 degrees
32 minutes W.' So they have made about three hundred miles of northing
in the six days since they left the region of the lost ship. 'Drifting
in calms all day.' And baking hot, of course; I have been down there,
and I remember that detail. 'Even as the captain says, all romance has
long since vanished, and I think the most of us are beginning to look the
fact of our awful situation full in the face.' 'We are making but little
headway on our course.' Bad news from the rearmost boat: the men are
improvident; 'they have eaten up all of the canned meats brought from the
ship, and are now growing discontented.' Not so with the chief mate's
people--they are evidently under the eye of a man.
Under date of May 11: 'Standing still! or worse; we lost more last night
than we made yesterday.' In fact, they have lost three miles of the
three hundred of northing they had so laboriously made. 'The cock that
was rescued and pitched into the boat while the ship was on fire still
lives, and crows with the breaking of dawn, cheering us a good deal.'
What has he been living on for a week? Did the starving men feed him
from their dire poverty? 'The second mate's boat out of water again,
showing that they over-drink their allowance. The captain spoke pretty
sharply to them.' It is true: I have the remark in my old note-book; I
got it of the third mate in the hospital at Honolulu. But there is not
room for it here, and it is too combustible, anyway. Besides, the third
mate admired it, and what he admired he was likely to enhance.
They were still watching hopefully for ships. The captain was a
thoughtful man, and probably did not disclose on them that that was
substantially a waste of time. 'In this latitude the horizon is filled
with little upright clouds that look very much like ships.' Mr. Ferguson
saved three bottles of brandy from his private stores when he left the
ship, and the liquor came good in these days. 'The captain serves out
two tablespoonfuls of brandy and water--half and half--to our crew.' He
means the watch that is on duty; they stood regular watches--four hours
on and four off. The chief mate was an excellent officer--a self-
possessed, resolute, fine, all-round man. The diarist makes the
following note--there is character in it: 'I offered one bottle of brandy
to the chief mate, but he declined, saying he could keep the after-boat
quiet, and we had not enough for all.'
HENRY FERGUSON'S DIARY TO DATE, GIVEN IN FULL:
May 4, 5, 6, doldrums. May 7, 8, 9, doldrums. May 10, 11, 12,
doldrums. Tells it all. Never saw, never felt, never heard, never
experienced such heat, such darkness, such lightning and thunder,
and wind and rain, in my life before.
That boy's diary is of the economical sort that a person might properly
be expected to keep in such circumstances--and be forgiven for the
economy, too. His brother, perishing of consumption, hunger, thirst,
blazing heat, drowning rains, loss of sleep, lack of exercise, was
persistently faithful and circumstantial with his diary from the first
day to the last--an instance of noteworthy fidelity and resolution. In
spite of the tossing and plunging boat he wrote it close and fine, in a
hand as easy to read as print. They can't seem to get north of 7 degrees
N.; they are still there the next day:
[Diary entry] May 12. A good rain last night, and we caught a good
deal, though not enough to fill up our tank, pails, &c. Our object
is to get out of these doldrums, but it seems as if we cannot do it.
To-day we have had it very variable, and hope we are on the northern
edge, thought we are not much above 7 degrees. This morning we all
thought we had made out a sail; but it was one of those deceiving
clouds. Rained a good deal to-day, making all hands wet and
uncomfortable; we filled up pretty nearly all our water-pots,
however. I hope we may have a fine night, for the captain certainly
wants rest, and while there is any danger of squalls, or danger of
any kind, he is always on hand. I never would have believed that
open boats such as ours, with their loads, could live in some of the
seas we have had.
During the night, 12th-13th, 'the cry of A SHIP! brought us to our feet.'
It seemed to be the glimmer of a vessel's signal-lantern rising out of
the curve of the sea. There was a season of breathless hope while they
stood watching, with their hands shading their eyes, and their hearts in
their throats; then the promise failed: the light was a rising star. It
is a long time ago--thirty-two years--and it doesn't matter now, yet one
is sorry for their disappointment. 'Thought often of those at home
to-day, and of the disappointment they will feel next Sunday at not
hearing from us by telegraph from San Francisco.' It will be many weeks
yet before the telegram is received, and it will come as a thunderclap of
joy then, and with the seeming of a miracle, for it will raise from the
grave men mourned as dead. 'To-day our rations were reduced to a quarter
of a biscuit a meal, with about half a pint of water.' This is on May
13, with more than a month of voyaging in front of them yet! However, as
they do not know that, 'we are all feeling pretty cheerful.'
In the afternoon of the 14th there was a thunderstorm, 'which toward
night seemed to close in around us on every side, making it very dark and
squally.' 'Our situation is becoming more and more desperate,' for they
were making very little northing 'and every day diminishes our small
stock of provisions.' They realise that the boats must soon separate,
and each fight for its own life. Towing the quarter-boats is a hindering
That night and next day, light and baffling winds and but little
progress. Hard to bear, that persistent standing still, and the food
wasting away. 'Everything in a perfect sop; and all so cramped, and no
change of clothes.' Soon the sun comes out and roasts them. 'Joe caught
another dolphin to-day; in his maw we found a flying-fish and two
skipjacks.' There is an event, now, which rouses an enthusiasm of hope:
a land-bird arrives! It rests on the yard for awhile, and they can look
at it all they like, and envy it, and thank it for its message. As a
subject of talk it is beyond price--a fresh new topic for tongues tired
to death of talking upon a single theme: Shall we ever see the land
again; and when? Is the bird from Clipperton Rock? They hope so; and
they take heart of grace to believe so. As it turned out the bird had no
message; it merely came to mock.
May 16, 'the cock still lives, and daily carols forth his praise.' It
will be a rainy night, 'but I do not care if we can fill up our
On the 17th one of those majestic spectres of the deep, a water-spout,
stalked by them, and they trembled for their lives. Young Henry set it
down in his scanty journal with the judicious comment that 'it might have
been a fine sight from a ship.'
From Captain Mitchell's log for this day: 'Only half a bushel of
bread-crumbs left.' (And a month to wander the seas yet.')
It rained all night and all day; everybody uncomfortable. Now came a
sword-fish chasing a bonito; and the poor thing, seeking help and
friends, took refuge under the rudder. The big sword-fish kept hovering
around, scaring everybody badly. The men's mouths watered for him, for
he would have made a whole banquet; but no one dared to touch him, of
course, for he would sink a boat promptly if molested. Providence
protected the poor bonito from the cruel sword-fish. This was just and
right. Providence next befriended the shipwrecked sailors: they got the
bonito. This was also just and right. But in the distribution of
mercies the sword-fish himself got overlooked. He now went away; to muse
over these subtleties, probably. The men in all the boats seem pretty
well; the feeblest of the sick ones (not able for a long time to stand
his watch on board the ship) 'is wonderfully recovered.' This is the
third mate's detected 'Portyghee' that raised the family of abscesses.
Passed a most awful night. Rained hard nearly all the time, and
blew in squalls, accompanied by terrific thunder and lightning from
all points of the compass.--Henry's Log.
Most awful night I ever witnessed.--Captain's Log.
Latitude, May 18, 11 degrees 11 minutes. So they have averaged but forty
miles of northing a day during the fortnight. Further talk of
separating. 'Too bad, but it must be done for the safety of the whole.'
'At first I never dreamed, but now hardly shut my eyes for a cat-nap
without conjuring up something or other--to be accounted for by weakness,
I suppose.' But for their disaster they think they would be arriving in
San Francisco about this time. 'I should have liked to send B---the
telegram for her birthday.' This was a young sister.
On the 19th the captain called up the quarter-boats and said one would
have to go off on its own hook. The long-boat could no longer tow both
of them. The second mate refused to go, but the chief mate was ready; in
fact, he was always ready when there was a man's work to the fore. He
took the second mate's boat; six of its crew elected to remain, and two
of his own crew came with him (nine in the boat, now, including himself).
He sailed away, and toward sunset passed out of sight. The diarist was
sorry to see him go. It was natural; one could have better spared the
'Portyghee.' After thirty-two years I find my prejudice against this
'Portyghee' reviving. His very looks have long passed out of my memory;
but no matter, I am coming to hate him as religiously as ever. 'Water
will now be a scarce article, for as we get out of the doldrums we shall
get showers only now and then in the trades. This life is telling
severely on my strength. Henry holds out first-rate.' Henry did not
start well, but under hardships he improved straight along.
Latitude, Sunday, May 20, 12 degrees 0 minutes 9 seconds. They ought to
be well out of the doldrums now, but they are not. No breeze--the
longed-for trades still missing. They are still anxiously watching for a
sail, but they have only 'visions of ships that come to naught--the
shadow without the substance.' The second mate catches a booby this
afternoon, a bird which consists mainly of feathers; 'but as they have no
other meat, it will go well.'
May 21, they strike the trades at last! The second mate catches three
more boobies, and gives the long-boat one. Dinner 'half a can of
mincemeat divided up and served around, which strengthened us somewhat.'
They have to keep a man bailing all the time; the hole knocked in the
boat when she was launched from the burning ship was never efficiently
mended. 'Heading about north-west now.' They hope they have easting
enough to make some of these indefinite isles. Failing that, they think
they will be in a better position to be picked up. It was an infinitely
slender chance, but the captain probably refrained from mentioning that.
The next day is to be an eventful one.
[Diary entry] May 22. Last night wind headed us off, so that part
of the time we had to steer east-south-east and then west-north-
west, and so on. This morning we were all startled by a cry of
'SAIL HO!' Sure enough, we could see it! And for a time we cut
adrift from the second mate's boat, and steered so as to attract its
attention. This was about half-past five A.M. After sailing in a
state of high excitement for almost twenty minutes we made it out to
be the chief mate's boat. Of course we were glad to see them and
have them report all well; but still it was a bitter disappointment
to us all. Now that we are in the trades it seems impossible to
make northing enough to strike the isles. We have determined to do
the best we can, and get in the route of vessels. Such being the
determination, it became necessary to cast off the other boat,
which, after a good deal of unpleasantness, was done, we again
dividing water and stores, and taking Cox into our boat. This makes
our number fifteen. The second mate's crew wanted to all get in
with us, and cast the other boat adrift. It was a very painful
So these isles that they have struggled for so long and so hopefully have
to be given up. What with lying birds that come to mock, and isles that
are but a dream, and 'visions of ships that come to naught,' it is a
pathetic time they are having, with much heartbreak in it. It was odd
that the vanished boat, three days lost to sight in that vast solitude,
should appear again. But it brought Cox--we can't be certain why. But
if it hadn't, the diarist would never have seen the land again.
[Diary entry] Our chances as we go west increase in regard to being
picked up, but each day our scanty fare is so much reduced. Without
the fish, turtle, and birds sent us, I do not know how we should
have got along. The other day I offered to read prayers morning and
evening for the captain, and last night commenced. The men,
although of various nationalities and religions, are very attentive,
and always uncovered. May God grant my weak endeavour its issue!
Latitude, May 24, 14 degrees 18 minutes N. Five oysters apiece for
dinner and three spoonfuls of juice, a gill of water, and a piece of
biscuit the size of a silver dollar. 'We are plainly getting
weaker--God have mercy upon us all!' That night heavy seas break
over the weather side and make everybody wet and uncomfortable
besides requiring constant baling.
Next day 'nothing particular happened.' Perhaps some of us would have
regarded it differently. 'Passed a spar, but not near enough to see what
it was.' They saw some whales blow; there were flying-fish skimming the
seas, but none came aboard. Misty weather, with fine rain, very
Latitude, May 26, 15 degrees 50 minutes. They caught a flying-fish and a
booby, but had to eat them raw. 'The men grow weaker, and, I think,
despondent; they say very little, though.' And so, to all the other
imaginable and unimaginable horrors, silence is added--the muteness and
brooding of coming despair. 'It seems our best chance to get in the
track of ships with the hope that some one will run near enough to our
speck to see it.' He hopes the other boards stood west and have been
picked up. (They will never be heard of again in this world.)
[Diary entry] Sunday, May 27, Latitude 16 degrees 0 minutes 5
seconds; longitude, by chronometer, 117 degrees 22 minutes. Our
fourth Sunday! When we left the ship we reckoned on having about
ten days' supplies, and now we hope to be able, by rigid economy, to
make them last another week if possible. Last night the sea was
comparatively quiet, but the wind headed us off to about west-north-
west, which has been about our course all day to-day. Another
flying-fish came aboard last night, and one more to-day--both small
ones. No birds. A booby is a great catch, and a good large one
makes a small dinner for the fifteen of us--that is, of course, as
dinners go in the 'Hornet's' long-boat. Tried this morning to read
the full service to myself, with the Communion, but found it too
much; am too weak, and get sleepy, and cannot give strict attention;
so I put off half till this afternoon. I trust God will hear the
prayers gone up for us at home to-day, and graciously answer them by
sending us succour and help in this our season of deep distress.
The next day was 'a good day for seeing a ship.' But none was seen. The
diarist 'still feels pretty well,' though very weak; his brother Henry
'bears up and keeps his strength the best of any on board.' 'I do not
feel despondent at all, for I fully trust that the Almighty will hear our
and the home prayers, and He who suffers not a sparrow to fall sees and
cares for us, His creatures.'
Considering the situation and circumstances, the record for next day,
May 29, is one which has a surprise in it for those dull people who think
that nothing but medicines and doctors can cure the sick. A little
starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best
medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean
total abstention from food for one or two days. I speak from experience;
starvation has been my cold and fever doctor for fifteen years, and has
accomplished a cure in all instances. The third mate told me in Honolulu
that the 'Portyghee' had lain in his hammock for months, raising his
family of abscesses and feeding like a cannibal. We have seen that in
spite of dreadful weather, deprivation of sleep, scorching, drenching,
and all manner of miseries, thirteen days of starvation 'wonderfully
recovered' him. There were four sailors down sick when the ship was
burned. Twenty-five days of pitiless starvation have followed, and now
we have this curious record: 'All the men are hearty and strong; even the
ones that were down sick are well, except poor Peter.' When I wrote an
article some months ago urging temporary abstention from food as a remedy
for an inactive appetite and for disease, I was accused of jesting, but I
was in earnest. 'We are all wonderfully well and strong, comparatively
speaking.' On this day the starvation regime drew its belt a couple of
buckle-holes tighter: the bread ration was reduced from the usual piece
of cracker the size of a silver dollar to the half of that, and one meal
was abolished from the daily three. This will weaken the men physically,
but if there are any diseases of an ordinary sort left in them they will
Two quarts bread-crumbs left, one-third of a ham, three small cans
of oysters, and twenty gallons of water.--Captain's Log.
The hopeful tone of the diaries is persistent. It is remarkable. Look
at the map and see where the boat is: latitude 16 degrees 44 minutes,
longitude 119 degrees 20 minutes. It is more than two hundred miles west
of the Revillagigedo Islands, so they are quite out of the question
against the trades, rigged as this boat is. The nearest land available
for such a boat is the American group, six hundred and fifty miles away,
westward; still, there is no note of surrender, none even of
discouragement! Yet, May 30, 'we have now left: one can of oysters;
three pounds of raisins; one can of soup; one-third of a ham; three pints
And fifteen starved men to live on it while they creep and crawl six
hundred and fifty miles. 'Somehow I feel much encouraged by this change
of course (west by north) which we have made to-day.' Six hundred and
fifty miles on a hatful of provisions. Let us be thankful, even after
thirty-two years, that they are mercifully ignorant of the fact that it
isn't six hundred and fifty that they must creep on the hatful, but
Isn't the situation romantic enough just as it stands? No. Providence
added a startling detail: pulling an oar in that boat, for common
seaman's wages, was a banished duke--Danish. We hear no more of him;
just that mention, that is all, with the simple remark added that 'he is
one of our best men'--a high enough compliment for a duke or any other
man in those manhood-testing circumstances. With that little glimpse of
him at his oar, and that fine word of praise, he vanishes out of our
knowledge for all time. For all time, unless he should chance upon this
note and reveal himself.
The last day of May is come. And now there is a disaster to report:
think of it, reflect upon it, and try to understand how much it means,
when you sit down with your family and pass your eye over your breakfast-
table. Yesterday there were three pints of bread-crumbs; this morning
the little bag is found open and some of the crumbs are missing. 'We
dislike to suspect any one of such a rascally act, but there is no
question that this grave crime has been committed. Two days will
certainly finish the remaining morsels. God grant us strength to reach
the American group!' The third mate told me in Honolulu that in these
days the men remembered with bitterness that the 'Portyghee' had devoured
twenty-two days' rations while he lay waiting to be transferred from the
burning ship, and that now they cursed him and swore an oath that if it
came to cannibalism he should be the first to suffer for the rest.
[Diary entry] The captain has lost his glasses, and therefore he
cannot read our pocket prayer-books as much as I think he would
like, though he is not familiar with them.
Further of the captain: 'He is a good man, and has been most kind to us--
almost fatherly. He says that if he had been offered the command of the
ship sooner he should have brought his two daughters with him.' It makes
one shudder yet to think how narrow an escape it was.
The two meals (rations) a day are as follows: fourteen raisins and a
piece of cracker the size of a penny for tea; a gill of water, and a
piece of ham and a piece of bread, each the size of a penny, for
He means a penny in thickness as well as in circumference. Samuel
Ferguson's diary says the ham was shaved 'about as thin as it could be
[Diary entry] June 1. Last night and to-day sea very high and
cobbling, breaking over and making us all wet and cold. Weather
squally, and there is no doubt that only careful management--with
God's protecting care--preserved us through both the night and the
day; and really it is most marvellous how every morsel that passes
our lips is blessed to us. It makes me think daily of the miracle
of the loaves and fishes. Henry keeps up wonderfully, which is a
great consolation to me. I somehow have great confidence, and hope
that our afflictions will soon be ended, though we are running
rapidly across the track of both outward and inward bound vessels,
and away from them; our chief hope is a whaler, man-of-war, or some
Australian ship. The isles we are steering for are put down in
Bowditch, but on my map are said to be doubtful. God grant they may
Hardest day yet.--Captain's Log.
Doubtful! It was worse than that. A week later they sailed straight
[Diary entry] June 2. Latitude 18 degrees 9 minutes. Squally,
cloudy, a heavy sea.... I cannot help thinking of the cheerful and
comfortable time we had aboard the 'Hornet.'
Two days' scanty supplies left--ten rations of water apiece and a
little morsel of bread. BUT THE SUN SHINES AND GOD IS MERCIFUL.--
[Diary entry] Sunday, June 3. Latitude 17 degrees 54 minutes.
Heavy sea all night, and from 4 A.M. very wet, the sea breaking
over us in frequent sluices, and soaking everything aft,
particularly. All day the sea has been very high, and it is a
wonder that we are not swamped. Heaven grant that it may go down
this evening! Our suspense and condition are getting terrible. I
managed this morning to crawl, more than step, to the forward end of
the boat, and was surprised to find that I was so weak, especially
in the legs and knees. The sun has been out again, and I have dried
some things, and hope for a better night.
June 4. Latitude 17 degrees 6 minutes, longitude 131 degrees 30
minutes. Shipped hardly any seas last night, and to-day the sea has
gone down somewhat, although it is still too high for comfort, as we
have an occasional reminder that water is wet. The sun has been out
all day, and so we have had a good drying. I have been trying for
the last ten or twelve days to get a pair of drawers dry enough to
put on, and to-day at last succeeded. I mention this to show the
state in which we have lived. If our chronometer is anywhere near
right, we ought to see the American Isles to-morrow or next day. If
there are not there, we have only the chance, for a few days, of a
stray ship, for we cannot eke out the provisions more than five or
six days longer, and our strength is failing very fast. I was much
surprised to-day to note how my legs have wasted away above my
knees: they are hardly thicker than my upper arm used to be. Still,
I trust in God's infinite mercy, and feel sure he will do what is
best for us. To survive, as we have done, thirty-two days in an
open boat, with only about ten days' fair provisions for thirty-one
men in the first place, and these divided twice subsequently, is
more than mere unassisted HUMAN art and strength could have
accomplished and endured.
Bread and raisins all gone.--Captain's Log.
Men growing dreadfully discontented, and awful grumbling and
unpleasant talk is arising. God save us from all strife of men; and
if we must die now, take us himself, and not embitter our bitter
death still more.--Henry's Log.
[Diary entry] June 5. Quiet night and pretty comfortable day,
though our sail and block show signs of failing, and need taking
down--which latter is something of a job, as it requires the
climbing of the mast. We also had news from forward, there being
discontent and some threatening complaints of unfair allowances,
etc., all as unreasonable as foolish; still, these things bid us be
on our guard. I am getting miserably weak, but try to keep up the
best I can. If we cannot find those isles we can only try to make
north-west and get in the track of Sandwich Island-bound vessels,
living as best we can in the meantime. To-day we changed to one
meal, and that at about noon, with a small ration or water at 8 or 9
A.M., another at 12 A.M., and a third at 5 or 6 P.M.
Nothing left but a little piece of ham and a gill of water, all
They are down to one meal a day now--such as it is--and fifteen hundred
miles to crawl yet! And now the horrors deepen, and, though they escaped
actual mutiny, the attitude of the men became alarming. Now we seem to
see why that curious incident happened, so long ago; I mean Cox's return,
after he had been far away and out of sight several days in the chief
mate's boat. If he had not come back the captain and the two young
passengers might have been slain, now, by these sailors, who were
becoming crazed through their sufferings.
NOTE SECRETLY PASSED BY HENRY TO HIS BROTHER:
Cox told me last night that there is getting to be a good deal of
ugly talk among the men against the captain and us aft. They say
that the captain is the cause of all; that he did not try to save
the ship at all, nor to get provisions, and that even would not let
the men put in some they had; and that partiality is shown us in
apportioning our rations aft. ....asked Cox the other day if he
would starve first or eat human flesh. Cox answered he would
starve. ....then told him he would only be killing himself. If we
do not find those islands we would do well to prepare for anything.
....is the loudest of all.
We can depend on ...., I think, and ...., and Cox, can we not?
I guess so, and very likely on....; but there is no telling.... and
Cox are certain. There is nothing definite said or hinted as yet,
as I understand Cox; but starving men are the same as maniacs. It
would be well to keep a watch on your pistol, so as to have it and
the cartridges safe from theft.